The South Bend area, including Mishawaka, Elkhart, Michigan City, and southwestern Michigan, is located in a lake effect snow belt of Lake Michigan. That means we get an average snowfall of 81.8" per year. Lake effect snow can bring as much as over one foot of snow in a typical storm.
What's more interesting is that since I go to school in Chicago and frequently commute home to South Bend, and that Chicago is located on the southwest side of Lake Michigan and therefore is not as much of a lake effect snow favorable area as South Bend is, snowfall can range from NONE in Chicago to up to 2 feet in South Bend.
Local authorities, however, do a good job of clearing up the roadways and salting them during and immediately after a storm. Therefore, I can tell you that driving is actually not a major problem here during the winter. However, still have your winter weather driving skills on hand. People here still do business as usual and go to work after a winter storm.
The South Bend area is overall a pretty safe area. But it is not a good idea to walk along the streets in the southern and western parts of the city at night. The area around the South Bend Regional Airport is also not safe. Safe areas are the northern and eastern parts of the city, the city of Mishawaka, and Granger. The shopping mall (University Park Mall) is located on the northeastern side on Grape Road in Mishawaka. You can see it from the Toll Road but there's no exit there. You must take either Exit 77 or 83.
Don't be surprised to find the South Bend area's water tasting a little funny, or tasting differently from the surrounding areas like Chicago, Michigan, or Ohio - where the taste is more normal. The ground water supply is probably different here. But this is nothing to worry about. The water has been tested to be safe to use and drink and is tolerable. But if you cannot get used to the taste, you can always get bottled drinking water from the grocery stores.
See web site for more info.
"Michigan Street Bridge is falling down, falling down, fallling down...
So is the Chase Tower, and the parking garages, and.."
Seriously.. Winter time means ice, snow, salt.
Melt, freeze, and repeat.
Then a spring thaw will come eventually.
I'm thinking beware of anything made of concrete in South Bend,
as it is possibly going to drop some concrete.
Either from age, poor design, or a lack of maintaince.
But don't worry?
On my original travel page ( See Free Parking Photo)
I joked how the parking garages were collapsing, so watch where you park.
Now you might also have to watch where you drive or walk.
In 2011 the bridge was dropping chunks of concrete and now isn't even safe for trucks because its cracked, but you expect me and 50 other cars to sit on it wating for the light to change?
The Chase Tower dropped a large chunk of itself, and then later that same day a 3-foot-by-5-foot section of brick facade fell off the city-owned parking garage at Wayne and St. Joseph Sts, above the State Cafe.
SBT jokingly said. "Sky didn't fall in South Bend, just parts of parking garages"
I was being humorous back when, I joked about the falling parking garage, but this sort of thing getting out of hand.
Isn't that Sky Bridge to the Chase Tower (over Michigan Street) built of the same concrete and rusty rebar as the parking garage? Have you ever really looked up at all the cracking on the downtown buildings?
For some reason, the city can't seem to decide where to paint lines on the streets to divide lanes. You can't always tell if a street is a four-lane or a wide two lane; sometimes the lines are painted and sometimes they aren't. You have to watch the locals carefully to find out where to drive.